Showing posts with label 2008. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2008. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008 (Veneto) - Wine Review

red wine was purchased nearly 7 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release that featured wines from Veneto in its main theme. Let's see how it is tasting tonight...

Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

Blend of 80% Corvina Veronese and Corvinone, and 20% Rondinella from the terraced estate of Lena di Mezzo that is an hilly area with tufaceous, clay and limestone soils. Deep garnet colour with a brownish tinge on the edge. Generous aromas are very earthy and savoury in the glass with dirt, tree bark, and touches of dried cherry and floral. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with tobacco and spice flavours, plus some dried cherry/berry and floral notes. Fruit is starting to fade while tannins have softened but leave a chalky and drying mouthfeel. Acids are juicy. Earthy and stony mineral notes linger on the long finish. Quite nice for an 11-year-old Valpolicella. Drink now. Score: 89 pts

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  • Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Niagara Grape & Wine Festival 2017 - Day 2 of 2

Vineland Estates Bo-Teek Vineyard
Last , I visited Niagara twice over the course of the month to partake in the 66th Annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. You can read all about the activities here.

The fun-filled began at Vineland Estates Winery where we were given a guided tour of the property and facilities by David Hulley. The tour began on the patio over looking the prized Bo-Teek Vineyard with a gorgeous view of the Bench, and in the distance Lake Ontario, followed by a visit to the St. Urban Vineyard where some of Niagara's oldest Riesling vines (late '70's / early 80's) can be found. The winery is housed in picturesque structures that date back to the 1840's, including a former farmhouse, century barn, and a charming Carriage House. The tour concluded with a visit to the production facility, where I had the opportunity to get a closer look at their state-of-the-art optical sorting machine. This game changing machine accurately sorts up to 2,000 berries per second, separating lower quality grapes from the higher quality grapes. Vineland Estates is the only Canadian winery to have such technology.

Vineland Estates - New TanksVineland Estates - "Game Changer" Optical Sorting Machine

Beer and Cheddar Bisque paired with Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc

Following the tour, we headed downstairs to the tank room to enjoy their Discovery Pass Experience, which featured a Beer and Cheddar Bisque paired with their 2016 Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc (#594127, $14.95, 88 pts). The soup was made using Shawn & Ed's LagerShed Beer and Cow's Creamery 2-year-old Cheddar. It was creamy, if a touch sour, but offered nice balance when paired with the wine. A comfort pairing perfect for cooler months. After the food and wine pairing, we went to the tasting room to taste through some wines from their delicious portfolio. Wine reviews of some of these wines, plus others tasted on this day are provided below.

The second stop of the day was at Megalomaniac Winery. The wine pairing here was the 2016 Megalomaniac Selfie (#453506, $17.95, 86 pts), an easy-drinking, off-dry blend of Chardonnay Musqué, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling that paired very nicely with the small-proportioned Japanese-style buttermilk and panko-crusted chicken tenders, finished with a local freestone peach and ginger root glaze. The chicken tenders were very tasty, a little spicy, and when paired together with the off-dry white wine, the chicken tenders became even spicier and really enhanced the ginger flavours from the root glaze. A lively pairing that was really well done! Megalomaniac sits atop a hill, and relaxing on their outdoor patio while enjoying the view really enhanced the whole experience.

Megalomaniac Selfie paired with Japanese-Style Buttermilk and Panko-Crusted Chicken TendersPillitteri Estates Winery celebrating Canada 150 Potato Skins

Our third stop of the day was at Pillitteri Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where they were celebrating Canada's 150th birthday by offering potato skins topped with ingredients from every province and territory in our great nation. With 13 ingredients making up this potato skin, you can bet there were going to be many flavours vying for your attention. Some of the ingredients included potatoes from Prince Edward Island (obviously), cheese from the three other Atlantic provinces, honey from Ontario, juniper berries from British Columbia, and Ox tail from the Yukon. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of this food item, and the fact that Pillitteri was very busy on this day, they weren't able to customize my potato skin. This led to me trying only a couple of bites before discarding it. Two wines were offered with this pairing - a choice of either the Pillitteri Gewurztraminer Riesling Fusion (#349126, $13.95) or the Pillitteri Cabernet Merlot ($20). I opted for the heartier Cab Merlot, thinking that it should go well with the starchy and complex, loaded potato skin. The Discovery Pass Experience was a bit of downer here for me, but I did get to taste some really special Icewines afterwards, which made the visit to Pillitteri worthwhile.

Coyote’s Run Estate Winery with Jamaican Jerk Glaze ChickenCoyote’s Run Estate Winery Barrel Room

The fourth and final stop of the day was a very interesting one at Coyote’s Run Estate Winery. The culinary creation here was a farm-raised chicken, slow-cooked in a Jamaican jerk glaze and topped with Your Farm Gate’s fresh Ontario peach chutney, while served on a bed of basmati rice salad. Once again, two wines were offered - the 2016 Coyote's Run Lambert Vineyard Riesling ($19.95, 87 pts) and the 2015 Coyote's Run Estate Cabernet Franc ($24.95, 88 pts). However, here at Coyote's Run we were encouraged to try both wines with the food pairing to see how they fare. The Jerk chicken was mildly flavoured and not spicy, while the Riesling was bordering on off-dry, bringing out peach flavours from the chutney and wine. With the Cab Franc, the pairing became earthier and comforting, along with some of the jerk spice flavours becoming more prominent. While this pairing was quite interesting, our visit went to a whole other level after we met Assistant Winemaker Chris Protonentis. He was able to give us a quick tour of the facility before heading to the cellar for some barrel sampling of a few wines coming down the pipeline.

This was another fine day spent touring Niagara Wine Country during the annual Grape and Wine Festival. And just like on the first day, I was able to bring home recipes of some of the food items so we could try them at home. Get in touch with me if you would like a copy of any of the recipes.

Tasting Notes:

VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION CHARDONNAY 2014 - Bo-Teek Vineyard, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#164459) (XD) - $25
The medium+ intensity aromas offer golden apple, pear, and butter notes with hints of hazelnut. It's medium-bodied on the somewhat creamy palate with balanced acids and nice aroma replays. The nutty finish has very good length. Score: 89 pts

Vineland Estates Elevation Chardonnay 2014 (89 pts)Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling 2008 (91 pts)

VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION ST. URBAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2008 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#038117) (MD) - $30
The highly aromatic nose is showing some maturity, offering lemon citrus with whiffs of petrol and hints of minerality. It's medium-bodied and nicely textured on the palate with acids that are still quite lively. Off-dry flavour profile with lovely lemon/lime citrus, honeyed peach and floral flavours. Excellent finish length. Will easily age another 10 years. Score: 91 pts

VINELAND ESTATES CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
From a very good vintage, this has highly aromatic aromas of ripe blackberry, herbal, currant, cassis, mocha chocolate, and barnyard, all of which come through in appealing fashion on the medium+ bodied palate with smooth, refined tannins supported by very good, energetic acids. The smooth finish has excellent length. Score: 91+ pts

Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc Reserve 2012 (91+ pts)Megalomaniac Bespoke Pinot Noir 2015 (90+ pts)

MEGALOMANIAC BESPOKE PINOT NOIR 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $49.95
Highly aromatic on the nose with elegant candied cherry, floral, raspberry, baking spice, and hints of minerality aromas. Fine tannins are light on the light-bodied palate with pretty aroma replays plus some oak spice elements that are lifted by fresh, bright acids. There's some structure to the palate and it's very well balanced. Great tension between fruit and oak. The long finish is a touch bitter. Score: 90+ pts

MEGALOMANIAC BESPOKE MERLOT 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $59.95
The intense aromas reveal lovely forest red berry, dark cherry, mocha, forest floor aromas with hints of bay leaf and evergreen. On the medium-full bodied palate, this offers layers red and black forest fruits, chocolate, blackberry, cedar oak and some floral nuances. Medium-level tannins offer some structure and is balanced with fresh acids. Textured, classy, and long finishing. Age 3-4 years and drink to 2027. 91 pts

Megalomaniac Bespoke Merlot 2015 (91 pts)Megalomaniac Bespoke Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (91+ pts)

MEGALOMANIAC BESPOKE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $59.95
The medium-high intensity nose offers lush cassis, blackcurrant, and hints of olive, game and earthiness. The palate is full-bodied with smooth, silky, and structured tannins. It has very nice aroma replays, followed by an earthy mid-palate. Bright acids provide lift, and the finish is long and smooth. Drink or hold until 2027. Score: 91+ pts

PILLITTERI VIDAL RESERVE ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $65
Fragrant and open with peach, apricot, lychee, orange citrus, honey and marmalade aromas. The palate is medium+ bodied and lush with delicate acids providing balanced freshness to complement the sweet aroma replays. The long finish is accented with some oak spice. Score: 91 pts

Pillitteri Vidal Reserve Icewine 2013 (91 pts)Pillitteri Gewurztraminer Icewine 2000 (90 pts)

PILLITTERI GEWURZTRAMINER ICEWINE 2000 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $35
The medium-high intensity nose has a mature character, showing notes of molasses, burnt brown sugar, earth, and orange peel, in a slightly reductive style. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with smooth, silky, voluptuous and velvety mouthfeel with sweet, honeyed aroma replays. Palate still has some freshness. Excellent finish length. Such a treat to taste an Icewine at this age. Score: 90 pts

PILLITTERI CABERNET SAUVIGNON ICEWINE 2004 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $70
This has a medium-high intensity nose of dried cassis, dried red fruit and blackberry aromas. The palate is full bodied and sweet with raisiny, dried fig flavours lifted with very good acids, Long finishing with nice aroma replays. Score: 89 pts

Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2004 (89 pts)

COYOTE'S RUN ESTATE SYRAH 2015 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
From the red soil vineyard and matured for 18 months in an even split between Hungarian and French oak. The medium intensity nose seens closed, but offers complex glimpses of white pepper, meat, gamey, dark berry, earth, and savoury aromas. On the medium+ bodied palate, this offers crunchy tannins and very good acidity with balanced aroma replays that lean more towards fruit forward, with some savoury elements. The finish is long and clean. Very drinkable now, but I would age this for 2 years. Score: 89 pts

Coyote's Run Estate Syrah 2015 (89 pts)

COYOTE'S RUN ESTATE SYRAH 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Barrel sample. A mix of sweet and savoury bouquet with ripe dark berry, white pepper, sweet oak spice, and gamey notes. It's full-bodied on the palate with nice aroma replays. fresh acids, touch grippy tannins, and long finishing. Score: 89+ pts

COYOTE'S RUN RED PAW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#079228) (XD) - $35
Barrel sample. Aged on the lees. This has floral, cherry, and earth aromas and flavours. It's light-weighted on the palate with structured tannins that are a touch grippy. Clean acids and a balanced, long finish. Score: 89 pts

Barrel Sampling with Chris Protonentis

COYOTE'S RUN BLACK PAW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#116442) (XD) - $35
Barrel sample. This has a medium-high intensity nose featuring dark fruit, dark berry, tea leaf, and mineral aromas. It's light-to-medium bodied with more dark berry and dark fruit flavours lifted by fresh acids. It has grippy tannins and a long finish. Needs at least a couple of years to come together. Score: 90 pts

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  • Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Niagara Wine Tasting - Get Fresh in the Valley 2017

Redstone Limestone Riesling with Fried Shrimp Slider
On , I travelled to Niagara Wine Country to visit some wineries I had never been to before, as well as participate in some of Twenty Valley's Get Fresh in the Valley food & wine experiences.

The day began at Rosewood Estates Winery, an award-winning winery and meadery. And even though I had tasted the wines from this winery before, as well as driven by many, many times, this was my first ever on-site visit. Unfortunately, I missed taking the tour which would have included an opportunity to see the apiary (beeyard), tank cellar and barrel room. On the bright side, I did get to taste through some delicious wines and mead from their current portfolio - wine reviews of my favourites are provided below.

The next stop of the day was nearby in Beamsville at Redstone Winery. The property was formerly the Thomas and Vaughan Estate Winery and purchased by Moray Tawse (of his namesake in winery in Vineland, Ontario) in 2009. In June 2015, they opened up their beautiful hospitality centre, retail tasting room, and restaurant. The Get Fresh pairing here was their very delicious 2013 Redstone Limestone Riesling with a Fried Shrimp Slider with a Buttermilk Ranch & Iceberg Slaw. The brilliant acidity in the wine complemented the Fried Shrimp very well, while the Buttermilk Ranch sauce and sweetness in the wine balanced out the touch of heat from chili powder that was added to the batter. Overall, this was very well done. This was my first ever visit and I definitely want to come back for a dining experience as the restaurant menu looks delicious! In hindsight, I wish I had picked up a bottle of the Riesling (because it's THAT good!), but hopefully it will show up in VINTAGES this Summer.

GreenLane Cabernet with Lil' Lamb Slider
My third stop of the day was a short drive away along King Street at GreenLane Estate Winery for a Lil' Lamb Slider with Mint & Caper Mayo that was paired with their 2013 GreenLane Cabernet (60% Cabernet Franc & 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, $16.95, 87 pts). The green flavours coming from both the wine and mint dominated the flavour profile in this pairing, while the tannins in the Cabernet blend offered enough structure to balance the protein. This was a very well balanced and delicious Get Fresh pairing that I would be happy to enjoy again at home since I have the recipe.

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery was the fourth stop of the afternoon. Amazingly, in all my years of visiting Niagara, I had never been to Henry of Pelham - until this day. After tasting a few wines, I enjoyed a quick tour of Canada's largest underground barrel cellar room which houses more than 1500 barrels. The winery was founded in 1988, but the heritage of the property goes back to circa 1778 when it was deeded to the Speck Brothers great, great, great Grandfather, Nicholas Smith, and has been in the family ever since. In 1842, Nicholas' youngest son Henry - for which the winery is named - built an inn, tavern, and carriage house which now serves as the tasting room and wine boutique.

Henry of Pelham Barrel RoomHenry of Pelham Sparkling Wine Disgorging

Henry of Pelham Barrel RoomHenry of Pelham

As it was quite late in the day by the time everything wrapped up at the previous winery, the final few stops on Saturday were rather quick. I popped into Aure Wines (my first ever visit and now known as London Born Wine Co.) for a Get Fresh pairing of their delicious 2011 Aure Wild Ferment Pinot Noir and a Red Wine Cupcake Bite that was topped with Cherry Swirl Icing. The Pinot itself was quite nice, maturing well and paired nicely with the cupcake, bringing out sweet cherry flavours and baking spice notes from the wine. One wouldn't normally think of pairing Pinot with dessert, but this worked out quite well because each offered just a hint of sweetness. Aure Wines is known for their Marechal Foch and White Gamay, but unfortunately (for me) neither one was available for tasting as they were sold out. I'll have to make a point to visit again.

Aure Wild Ferment Pinot Noir wih Red Wine CupcakeFielding Rosé with Sweet Pepper Bruschetta

The next stop was at Fielding Estate Winery for a Get Fresh pairing of Sweet Pepper Bruschetta with Feta Cheese on a Focaccia, and paired with their 2016 Fielding Estate Rosé (#053421, $15.95, 86 pts). This was a very flavourful pairing with lots of interesting piquant, herbally, tart and sour flavours from the Bruschetta competing with somewhat sweet melon and herbally notes in the wine. I would call it a flavour explosion, but in a very pleasing and appealing way that still worked well together. If I get my hands on the recipe, I would definitely try this at home. If you plan to be in Niagara over the next few weeks, Fielding will be releasing the latest vintage of quite a few wines.

Angels Gate Pinot Noir with Spring Salad
My last stop of the day was at Angels Gate Winery, a winery I have known about for many years, but I recall this being my first ever visit to the site. The Get Fresh food & wine pairing here was a Spring Salad with Strawberries, Goat Cheese, Candied Pecans and Strawberry Balsamic Dressing paired with their 2014 Angels Gate Pinot Noir (#308486, $17.95, 88+ pts). The strawberry salad was delicious and really brought out the strawberry flavours in the wine, while the creamy goat cheese helped balance the acids in the balsamic dressing and the wine, leading to a very enjoyable pairing overall. Since this was my last stop, I managed to squeeze in a few tastings from a list that featured many delicious wines that had some age on them.

Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to Niagara Wine Country this time around. It was especially nice to check out some wineries that I had never visited before. It was also really great that the wineries provided recipes of their food pairings - I can't wait to enjoy them at home. If anyone would like the recipe of the Fried Shrimp Slider or the Lamb Slider, please let me know and I'll send it to you.

Wine review of my favourite wines tasted at each winery are provided below. Most of these wines are only available at the winery. However, some might be available through the VINTAGES section at the LCBO.

Tasting Notes:

ROSEWOOD ESTATES ORIGIN MIMA'S BLOCK RIESLING 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (D) - $15.95
Medium-high intensity aromatics offer nice petrol, orange citrus, lemon/lime and some green apple. Ripe lemon/lime flavours on the off-dry palate are balanced by tart and gentle acids. The finish length is very good. Coming to VINTAGES later this month. Score: 88 pts

Rosewood Estates Origin Mima's Block Riesling 2014 (88 pts)Rosewood Estates Origin Cabernet Franc 2014 (89 pts)

ROSEWOOD ESTATES ORIGIN CABERNET FRANC 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
Highly intense aromas that are herbaceous with green pepper, black cherry, blackberry, toasty oak, and earthy barnyard notes. The palate is medium+ bodied with ripe fruited dark cherry, dark berry flavours, along with some bitterness. Acids are bright, while the tannins somewhat tight at the moment. The finish length is very good. Drinkable now, but should improve in 2-3 years as tannins integrate. Score: 89 pts

ROSEWOOD ESTATES MEAD ROYALE HONEY WINE 2015 - Ontario, Canada (#296178) (S) - $16.95
Barrel-aged for 6 months in French oak, this honey wine has a medium-intensity nose of honeysuckle, citrus and floral, all with honeyed overtones and much of the same on the chalky textured, light-to-medium bodied palate. Long, satisfying finish. It's sweet, but not as sweet as one might expect. Score: 88 pts

Rosewood Estates Mead Royale Honey Wine 2015 (88 pts)

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $38.95
This Chardonnay was barrel-fermented and aged for 12 months in French oak, 30% new, and offers ripe tropical fruits, golden apple and buttery aromas that continue onto the lush, medium-bodied palate. Nicely balanced overall, textured, and lifted by bright, refreshing acids. The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $18.95
Lovely aromatics of medium-high intensity features a nice mineral, petrol, peach and candied orange citrus nose. The palate is medium-bodied with intense, sweet fruited citrusy aroma replays along with hints of lemon/lime and limestone minerality. Acids are bright and a touch sour. Nicely balanced overall and finishes with more minerally notes and excellent length. Sold out at the winery, but some still available in VINTAGES. Score: 90 pts

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2013 (90 pts)Redstone Meritage 2012 (90 pts)

REDSTONE MERITAGE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $45.95
A blend of 60/20/20 blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this has medium-high intensity aromas notes of dark berry, toasty oak, black currant and cassis that should open up further with air. It's full-bodied with very nice aroma replays, structured tannins, and very good acidity adding freshness. Satisfying on the long finish with some bretty, barnyard, and earthy notes. Score: 90 pts

GREENLANE RIESLING 2014 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (D) - $15.95
A blend of estate fruit that's combined with their old vines, this has medium+ intensity aromas of peach, apricot, and orange citrus that continue on the off-dry palate with additional flavours of Flintstones vitamins. Tart acids provide freshness, while there's a hint of mineral texture on the palate. There's good length on the finish. Score: 87 pts

Greenlane Riesling 2014 (87 pts)Greenlane Dry Riesling 2013 (89 pts)

GREENLANE DRY RIESLING 2013 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
This bone dry Riesling has an austere, medium intensity nose with notes of honeysuckle and slate. The palate is medium+ bodied with mineral-driven flavours of lemon/lime, citrus and a hint of apricot. Fine chalky mineral texture, balanced acids and long finishing. Score: 89 pts

GREENLANE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32.95
Highly aromatic on the nose with appealing cassis, dark currant, black cherry, blackberry and floral aromas. It's full-bodied with smooth, velvety tannins and very nice aroma replays along with hints of earth and barnyard. There's some alcohol warmth, but good depth of fruit supports it well. Acids are mouth-watering and the finish length is excellent. Will age 5-6 years, but highly enjoyable now. One of the favourite wines of the day! Score: 90+ pts

Greenlane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (90+ pts)

HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#643361) (MD) - $24.95
From vines planted in 1984, this has delicate, elegant, and fruit forward aromas of peach, apricot, orange citrus, and Flintstones vitamins. It's medium-dry on the palate with nice aroma replays, juicy acids, and medium-long finish with hints of mineral. Score: 89 pts

HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE BLANC DE BLANC 2012 - Traditional method, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#315200) (XD) - $44.95
100% estate grown Chardonnay, partially barrel-fermented and then aged for 5 years in bottle before being disgorged, this has medium-high intensity aromas that are bready, nutty and lemony. On the palate, it's medium-full bodied with citrus and biscuity flavours, a hint of sweetness that's balanced by lively acids and bright mousse. The finish is long, clean, and dry with hints of mineral. Score: 91 pts

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Blanc de Blanc 2012 (91 pts)Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine 2014 (91 pts)

HENRY OF PELHAM RIESLING ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#430561) (S) (375 mL) - $49.95
Highly aromatic, gorgeous nose that's honeyed with apricot, sweet lemon, mango, and tropical fruit aromas. It is full-bodied with very nice aromas replays and supported by high acids adding freshness and texture, while also balancing the sweetness very well. Finish length is excellent. Score: 91 pts

AURE RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40?
Open, fine nose of red cherry, strawberry, truffle, earth and subtle oak spice with very good intensity. The palate is light-weighted with light tannins that gain texture and volume in the mouth, with lovely aroma replays and fine acidity. Nicely balanced with a bit of old and new world in this Pinot. Finish length is excellent. Score: 90 pts

FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#251439) (M) - $20.15
Ripe apple, citrus, and melon aromas of medium+ intensity. The medium-bodied palate is fleshy with tightly wound acids, medium sweet flavours that follow through from the aroma profile, plus some herbally hints. The finish length is very good. Will be better after 1-2 years of cellaring. Score: 89 pts

Fielding Estate Bottled Riesling 2016 (89 pts)Angels Gate Archangel Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2009 (89 pts)

ANGELS GATE ARCHANGEL PINOT NOIR BRUT ROSÉ 2009 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (D) - $28.95
Medium-high intensity aromas feature ripe cherry and strawberry compote notes. On the medium-bodied palate, it has finely balanced mousse and pleasing aroma replays. Flavour profile is off-dry, but finishes on the dry side with some yeasty and bready notes, with very good length. Score: 89 pts

ANGELS GATE MOUNTAINVIEW CHARDONNAY 2009 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $19.95
This mature Chardonnay spent 14 months in French oak and has medium-high intensity aromas that are nutty and buttery, with hints of vanilla on the nose. The palate is medium-full bodied with a somewhat creamy texture and very nice aroma replays joined by some apple notes. Well-balanced overall thanks to the very good acidity. Finish length is excellent. Score: 89 pts

Angels Gate Mountainview Chardonnay 2009 (89 pts)Angels Gate Mountainview Riesling 2008 (91 pts)

ANGELS GATE MOUNTAINVIEW RIESLING 2008 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (D) - $16.95
Lovely, highly aromatic nose is showing mature notes of mineral, petrol, lemon, and hints of white peach. The palate is medium-bodied with still bright and lemony acids. It has an off-dry flavour profile that's mineral-driven with lemony citrus notes. Finish length is excellent. Score: 91 pts

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  • Monday, September 4, 2017

Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2008 (Midi) - Wine Review

wine to end a busy Summer is this red wine blend from one of my favourite producers in the Languedoc - Hecht & Bannier. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the founders of this winery, Gregory Hecht, a few years ago and will likely meet him again this Fall.

This wine was purchased from a VINTAGES Release in . Newer vintages have periodically shown up in VINTAGES as well, with the most recent appearance of this wine showing up in . Since it is currently not available at the LCBO, you can contact Halpern Enterprises to order this wine by the case.

Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2008 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

HECHT & BANNIER CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON-VILLAGES 2008 - AC, Midi, France (#142802) (XD) - $22.95
A blend of mostly Grenache with some Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Prune, dried fig and leathery aromas from the cork. In this glass, this has a fragrant, mature nose of garrigue, wet earth/forest floor, blackberry, along with subtle hints of dried floral, dried cherry and sweet oak spice. It's full-bodied and somewhat chalky textured on the palate with smooth tannins that are well-integrated and nearly fully resolved. Complex garrigue, dark fruit, blackberry, and hints of fig with flavours moving towards savoury on the mid-palate. Acids are juicy. The finish is long and savoury with touches of florality, dried cherry, bitterness, and mineral. Showing fine complexity and maturity and should drink well for another 2-3 years. Lovely! Score: 91 pts

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  • Friday, August 18, 2017

Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2008 (Chile) - Wine Review

delicious wine was purchased back in the Spring of 2014 from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Obviously, the 2008 is no longer available at the LCBO, but this wine is always solid year after year, and the latest vintage should will show up in VINTAGES in . Keep an eye out on this blog as I'm sure it will be a recommended buy.

Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2008 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMENÈRE 2008 - Peumo Vineyard, Rapel Valley, Chile (#169862) (XD) - $19.95
Black plum with hints of red flowers and earth from the cork. Complex nose is showing fine maturity with lovely dried flowers and wet earth aromas which give way to lush blackberry, wild herbs, cassis, black licorice, and vanilla with very good intensity. The palate is full-bodied with dark currant, blackberry, cassis, mint, and herbs surrounded by mouth watering acidity. It's slightly chalky on the palate with refined, dusty tannins that are smooth and integrated very nicely. The long finish is earthy with hints of chocolate and dried flowers. Beautiful wine to enjoy now or over the next 2-3 years. Enjoyed with chicken fajitas. Score: 90+ pts

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  • Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Boutari Wine Tasting and Dinner at ONE Restaurant

Boutari Wine Tasting & Dinner at ONE Restaurant
In mid-October, I was invited to a very special and exclusive tasting of the fine wines from the Boutari portfolio. These Greek wines were paired with gourmet fare at Mark McEwan's ONE Restaurant in Yorkville, downtown Toronto.

The guest speaker for the evening was Dr. Yannis Voyatzis, CEO & General Manager at Boutari, and one of the leading Oenologists in Greece. He was joined by Christina Boutari, a 5th generation member of the Boutari family who kicked off the evening with an overview and some history about the winery.

The Boutari Company was established in 1879 by Ioannis Boutaris and currently owns many wineries and vineyards throughout Greece (and Europe). The 6 wineries owned by the company in Greece are situated in the country's most important winemaking regions - the AOCs of Naoussa, Goumenissa, Crete, Santorini, Mantinia, and Attica.

Heirloom Carrot Salad paired with MoschofileroChristina Boutari and Dr. Yannis Voyatzis

Dr. Voyatzis took us through all 8 wines over the course of the evening as they were paired with the 4-course meal that was crafted specially for this intimate event. The first course was an Heirloom Carrot Salad with pomegranate yoghurt, avocado, orange, pistachios, raisin chutney and cilantro vinaigrette which was paired with a pair of white wines. Both wines were made with 100% Moschofilero - a rose/grey coloured grape that is larger than Gewürztraminer. Most fascinating was the fact that each wine was made in a completely different style, but each paired quite well with the salad. The Moschofilero is quite versatile in that it can be served as a sipper or with lighter fare such as salads, while the Oropedio is more of a food wine and really accentuated the citrus flavours in the salad. Full tasting notes of these and other wines tasted on this night are provided below.

The second course was specially crafted for me because I don't eat octopus. Instead, I enjoyed a pair of falafels on a bed of risotto and topped with greens and a side of green mint chutney. It was paired with two wines that were quite different from each other - the light, ripe-fruited Agioritiko and the big, full-bodied Skalani that offered more floral notes. In this case, the Agioritiko was the better pairing with the falafel as it wasn't too heavy and offered freshness to balance out the chickpea-based falafel. For me, the Skalani is a wine I would have on its own or pair it with the main course on this night.

Falafel with Agioritiko and Boutari SkalaniLamb Chops with Xinomavro

Lamb chops with sides of tzatziki, herb roasted potatoes, and a Santorini salad that was topped with a lemon garlic vinaigrette. Food-wise, this was my highlight of the night! Lamb with a big, Greek red wine is a match made in heaven. What made this course even more special were the wines we paired the lamb with - the 2010 Grande Reserve Xinomavro which has been a favourite of mine a few years now, the 1879 Legacy 2007 which is an excellent wine, and last but definitely not the least, we had the opportunity to taste a 1992 Grande Reserve Xinomavro. All three wines were fabulous, with the 2010 G.R. Xinomavro and the Legacy pairing better with the lamb as this protein requires tannins for a balanced experienced. Furthermore, the Skalani tasted in the second course also paired really with the lamb. As for the 1992 G.R. Xinomavro, this is a great, mature wine to sip and enjoy on its own as it's not often one gets to taste a wine that's more than 20 years old.

Greek Vinsanto with Baklava and Halva

For dessert, we paired a Vinsanto that had some age on it with traditional Greek desserts baklava and halva made by Serano Bakery. Historical evidence suggests that Vinsanto's place of origin is Santorini, where late-harvested grapes are dried in the sun, otherwise known as the passito style. These fine, rich desserts were very sweet and paired beautifully with a 2008 Vinsanto that was also very sweet, but balanced by good acidity and has many years of enjoyment remaining.

Thank you to Kolonaki Group, Dr. Yiannis Voyatzis, Christina Boutari, and the staff at ONE Restaurant for your gracious hospitality. It was a very enjoyable and memorable evening!

Wine reviews of each wine tasted on this night are provided below. Unless otherwise noted, all of these wines can be found at the Destination Greece Specialty LCBO store at 200 Danforth Avenue. Moreover, some of these wines can also be found at other regular LCBO outlets - click on the wine's six-digit product code for more info. You can also contact the Agent to Kolonaki Group for more information or shop the Boutari collection online at

Tasting Notes:

BOUTARI MOSCHOFILERO 2015 - PDO Mantinia, Greece (#172387) (D) - $13.10
Medium+ intensity aromatics offers fresh lemon, herbs, tropical fruits and floral aromas. The palate is medium-bodied and fleshy with crisp, juicy acids. Herbally and lemon pith flavours. The finish length is very good. Really appreciated this being served at the right temperature. Good for the patio or with salads. Score: 88 pts

Boutari Moschofilero 2015 (88 pts)Boutari Oropedio 2014 (88+ pts)

BOUTARI OROPEDIO 2014 - PDO Mantinia, Greece (XD) - $17.95
100% Moschofilero from oropedio (meaning "high plateau"), at 650 metres, altitude, and partially barrel-fermented, this has a medium-intensity nose featuring herbally, fennel, and mild oak nuances. It's also has some pine aromas, reminding me of a Retsina. The medium-bodied palate is dry and nicely textured, with softened acids due to oak, and pithy flavours. Medium-long finish. The 2016 vintage of this wine arrives on our shores this April. Score: 88+ pts

BOUTARI AGIORGITIKO 2015 - PDO Nemea, Greece (#172148) (XD) - $13.10
Aromas of medium+ intensity and offering ripe red fruits, earthy, cherry, red licorice, plum and some clove - quite complex. The palate is light-to-medium bodied with cherry, cough medicine, subtle oak spice, clove and cinnamon flavours. Lightly tannic with fresh, juicy acids. Medium finish length. Score: 88 pts

Boutari Agiorgitiko 2015 (88 pts)Boutari Skalani 2011 (91 pts)

BOUTARI SKALANI 2011 - PGI Heraklion, Greece (XD) - $29.95
A 50/50 blend of Kotsifali & Syrah, this has medium-high intensity aromas that are meaty and perfumed with purple fruits and sweet oak. It's full-bodied and juicy with blackberry, violet, floral, black plum and sweet oak flavours. It has refined tannins, very good acidity and excellent length on the finish. Drinakable now, but can age another 10 years. This is really fine! Score: 91 pts

BOUTARI GRANDE RESERVE XINOMAVRO 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#140111) (D) - $18.95
Tasted a few times now, and on this occasion I get lovely medium-high intensity aromas of cherry, clove, sweet floral and oak spice, and hints of olive and black pepper. Olive notes become more prominent with air. Medium-full bodied with still bright acids, nice black cherry, floral, some savoury notes, and hints of dried floral & fruit. Very good finish length. Approachable now, but can age another 3-5 years. Maturing well. Score: 90+ pts

Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro 2010 (90+ pts)Boutari 1879 Legacy 2007 (92 pts)

BOUTARI 1879 LEGACY 2007 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#675081) (XD) - $49.60
First tasted in May, and delighted to be tasting again. This single vineyard Xinomavro has medium-high aromatics of great complexity - floral, cherry, clove, black berry, black pepper, black olive and oak and should open up further with decanting. The palate is full-bodied and complex led by an appealing floral note. There's good concentration of fruit balanced by mouth-watering acids. Finish length is excellent. A big wine that is drinking well now, but will age for decades. Score: 92 pts

The treat of the night. This offers a medium-high intensity nose, very mature in profile with rose, cherry, dried fruit, umami, and just a touch of raisin/prune aromas. It's medium+ bodied with nice cherry-driven aroma replays. Still has very good acidity. Tannins are resolved, very smooth, velvety mouthfeel. Long finishing. Drink soon. Availability of this wonderful wine in Ontario is TBD. Score: 92 pts

Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro 1992 (92 pts)Boutari Vinsanto 2008 (92 pts)

BOUTARI VINSANTO 2008 - PDO Santorini, Greece (S) (500 mL) - $32
Made with sun-dried grapes consisting of 90% Assyrtiko and the rest mainly Aidani. This has an inviting nose of burnt caramel, sugar, and dried apricots of medium-high intensity. The palate is medium-full bodied with a grainy texture due to the wine being unfiltered. Very sweet flavours of dried apricot, honey, citrus, all-spice, Christmas cake are balanced by very good acidity. Long finish. Currently not available in Ontario. Score: 92 pts

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